This time of year, it’s easy to find gorgeous beets and kohlrabi at the farmers’ markets, and I also found the green onions for this recipe there. I used golden beets which blend better into a salad like since red beets would turn everything pink. The beets were roasted with whole cloves until cooked through but not too, too tender. Once cool, the peels were slipped off, and the beets were grated. Meanwhile, I peeled and grated some kohlrabi and tossed them with salt. The salted, grated kohlrabi was left to drain in a colander for about 20 minutes. The drained kohlrabi was combined with the grated beets, and toasted walnuts were added with chopped mint. The dressing was made by mixing together kumquat marmalade, champagne vinegar, yogurt, minced green onions, and salt. The recipe advises against Greek yogurt, but that was what I had on hand. The dressing was poured over the vegetables, tossed to combine, and I topped the finished salad with some reserved walnuts and chopped green onions.
The sweet-savory-tangy flavor of the dressing was a hit. As I tasted the yogurt dressing while making it, I imagined stealing this combination to use for chicken salad with walnuts. And, the fruitiness paired perfectly with the beets and kohlrabi. The salad was like slaw but a special-occasion kind of slaw. As with the last book from Blue Chair Jam, there’s a lot of inspiration to be found here. My next use of beets might just be to turn them into a marmalade as seen in the book.
Beet Salad with Walnuts and Kumquat Marmalade
Recipe reprinted with permission from Blue Chair Cooks with Jam and Marmalade by Rachel Saunders, Andrews McMeel Publishing 2014.
Serves 6 to 8
This sweet salad celebrates everything beets have to offer: beautiful color, luscious rich flavor, and the ability to combine well with numerous different textures and ingredients. This extremely versatile salad is equally at home on the tea table or as part of a Middle Eastern meal, and handfuls of the leftovers are divine tossed into a green salad or piled into a sandwich. Use golden or dark red beets as you prefer. This salad keeps well for at least a week in the refrigerator.
2 1/4 pounds beets
1 tablespoon neutral-flavored olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Scant 1 tablespoon whole cloves
1/2 pound Tokyo turnips or kohlrabi, peeled
1/2 cup walnut halves, coarsely chopped
12 leaves fresh lemon balm or spearmint (optional)
1/2 cup Kumquat Marmalade
1 1/2 teaspoons champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons whole milk yogurt (not Greek)
5 tablespoons minced spring shallots or spring onions
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F. Scrub the beets and pat them dry. Line a baking sheet with a large sheet of aluminum foil and put the beets on the foil. Drizzle liberally with olive oil and sprinkle with ample salt and pepper. Toss well. Scatter the cloves over the beets. Cover the beets with a second large sheet of foil and pinch the edges of the 2 sheets together to seal. Place the beets in the oven to roast until almost but not quite tender, 30 to 60 minutes (the length of time needed will be determined by the size of the beets). Remove the beets from the oven, loosen the top sheet of foil so steam can escape, and let the beets cool to slightly warm. Trim and peel them and coarsely grate the beets into a large bowl.
While the beets are baking, coarsely grate the turnips into a colander. Toss them with 1/4 teaspoon salt and place the colander over a bowl. Allow the turnips to drain for 15 to 20 minutes.
Add the drained turnips to the grated beets and toss well, then add the walnuts and lemon balm, if using. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together the marmalade, vinegar, yogurt, shallots, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Pour the dressing over the beet mixture and toss well. Adjust for seasonings, toss again, cover, and refrigerate until serving time.
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